Taco Salad with French Dressing

March 19, 2014

When it comes to the Dorito-filled taco salad you find at picnics and family reunions, there are two types of people:  Thousand island people and French dressing people.  If you saw my previous post (or just read the title of the recipe) then you know what kind of person I am.  Thousand island people — I don’t judge you too harshly, thousand island is pretty amazingly delicious in most circumstances, too.  French dressing is just better here, and you for some reason haven’t learned that yet.

Taco Salad with French Dressing

I have approximately 8 million cousins on my dad’s side, so when I was growing up we would meet monthly to celebrate all of the birthdays.  My aunt would regularly bring taco salad, which means I ate this at least once a month.  When I stopped eating meat, she would sometimes remember to set some aside without meat (making me the happiest 13 year old in the world), but as an adult I get no such treatment at work functions or wherever else I encounter this salad.  It’s left me with no choice but to make my own.

Taco Salad with French Dressing

Real talk: I can’t be trusted with Doritos.  Put a bag anywhere near me, and they will be gone in 8.3 seconds.  This is true of most crunchy chips, but especially Doritos.  My powers are useless against their crunchy, cheesy, goodness.  I thought about using my nacho cheese kale chips in this recipe, but I figured they’d get soggy super fast.  Instead I settled for baked tortilla chips.  Josh and I agreed that there was literally no difference between using tortilla chips and Doritos taste-wise.  Plus I had an extra 10 seconds of will power, so more chips made it into the salad rather than directly into my mouth.

Taco Salad with French Dressing

Taco Salad with French Dressing
Prep time: 
Total time: 

Serves: 4 – 8

  • 2 – 15oz cans chili beans (See notes)
  • 1 heart of romaine, chopped
  • 1 green pepper, chopped
  • ½ onion, chopped
  • 2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • ½ tbsp. cumin powder
  • ½ tbsp. chili powder
  • 1 c shredded reduced fat cheddar cheese (optional, can swap for vegan cheese or add 2 tbsp. nutritional yeast for cheesy flavor)
  • 2 oz baked tortilla chips (approximately 2 servings), corn or flour
  • ½+ c French dressing
  • salt and pepper, to taste (I added a few cracks of pepper when serving)

  1. Drain chili beans. Rinse using approximately 1 can of water.
  2. Toss veggies, cumin, chili powder, and cheese together. Can be refrigerated for several hours before serving.
  3. Add dressing and tortilla chips just before serving, crushing the tortilla chips with your hands. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 8 as a side dish, 4 as a main.
If serving as a main dish, reduce chili beans to 1 – 15 oz can.
I used no salt added chili beans. If you can’t find these or are looking for a GF option, use regular pinto or kidney beans and toss in a TBSP of taco seasoning.

Nutrition Information
Serving size: 8 Calories: 200 Fat: 10 Carbohydrates: 25 Fiber: 6 Protein: 11


Tagged with:

    Joanne Mar 21, 2014

    Taco salad is so fun! I’ve never tried it with French dressing, sadly. Must change that! Thankfully half of my coworkers are vegetarian, so it makes potlucks and such super easy for me!

    Gretchen @ Two Healthy Kitchens Mar 20, 2014

    What is this Dorito salad you speak of? I’ve never had that! You make it sound so common! I apparently live under a rock!

    I’m totally making your version, loving the baked tortilla chips! My waistline thanks you! 🙂

      Kelly Mar 21, 2014

      Gretchen – maybe it’s not as common as I thought. Josh grew up in Oklahoma and I in Michigan and we both saw it and ate it all the time plus my friends in college too, but it appears no one else has! Maybe we’re the best at picking out foods with Doritos lol

    Em @ Love A Latte Mar 20, 2014

    OMG this looks delicious right now! I am so ready for lunch!!!

    Ashley Mar 19, 2014

    Oh my gosh I haven’t had doritos in forever! But boy do I love taco salads! This looks awesome!

    cheri Mar 19, 2014

    What a great salad, love the crunch from the chips!

    The Domestic Rebel Mar 19, 2014

    I FREAKING LOVE TACO SALAD! I don’t know what it is about it, but I love it and can never get enough of it. The crushed chips, the salsa goodness, the bits of avocado.. YES.

    Becky @ Olives n Wine Mar 19, 2014

    Girlfriend, I hear you on the Doritos thing. I will INHALE a bag if they are within 100 feet of my face. Super powers I tell ya. Super powers 😉 Anyways, how weird am I that I’ve never heard of putting either dressing on taco salads?! I’ve always been taught to use taco sauce or salsa. The things you learn in the blog world…

      Kelly Mar 19, 2014

      Becky — I’m surprised you haven’t heard of it, because I’m pretty sure Dorito taco salad is a total midwestern thing! I usually like to use salsa if I’m quickly piling up a big salad for dinner, but there’s something just so delicious about French dressing with beans and tortilla chips.

      cleaneatingveggiegirl Mar 19, 2014

      I have never heard of putting dressing on taco salads either. Salsa has always been my go to! And speaking of Doritos, were “walking tacos” or “taco in a bag” (or Doritos) popular at sporting events when you were growing up?

        Kelly Mar 19, 2014

        Hannah – I think they had them at football games and actually at lunch once in a while. I never tried them because I’d stopped eating meat by the time they were a thing, but I’ll normally take tacos any way I can get them!